The French government under Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday the launch of a public consultation on “virtual immersive universes,” or the metaverse, aiming to design alternatives to services offered by multinational tech giants.

See related article: What policymakers need to know about the metaverse to make the real world a better place

Fast facts

  • For several months, the development of metaverses has emerged in the economic debate, said the French Ministry of Economy and Finance in a press release, adding that a digital transition is looming.
  • The ministry added that the results of the consultation, which ends May 2, will be used to design a development-focused strategy and local alternatives to metaverses operated by tech giants. It will affect the French government’s future metaverse strategy and policy decisions.
  • The announcement added that the term “metaverse” is still subject to discussion. The definition of the term has been a topic of debate in other parts of the world. The chief of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, called the metaverse a “poorly built video game.”
  • The French government, in its announcement, described the metaverse as an online service that gives access to simulations of virtual spaces and allows its users to be immersed in a virtual reality that surrounds them. This online service also allows real-time interactions with other users and their virtual environments via avatars.
  • Global enterprises like Meta Platforms, Microsoft and Tencent have been developing metaverse platforms or related services. Meta, the parent firm of social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, lost US$13.7 billion last year due to the poor performance of its Horizon Worlds metaverse. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Tencent reportedly reduced investments in developing virtual platforms.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said during his trip to China last week that Europe needs to reduce dependency on the U.S. and build its “strategic autonomy,” according to a report from Politico.

See related article: Meta says new focus on generative AI could boost metaverse development: Nikkei